On The Floor, There's Only Milk And Candy...In The Senate Restaurant, There's Endless Bean Soup
The year is 1966. Illinois senator Everett Dirksen engages in debate over labor laws but soon realizes something dark. Something terrible. Despite ready access to water, Dirksen remains a thirsty little bitch, and he realizes "water becomes pretty thin after a period of time." Dirksen musters every last ounce of his waning strength to ask, "Is it in violation of the Senate rules if the Senator for Illinois asks one of the page boys to go to the restaurant and bring him a glass of milk?"
According to the history books, the officer in charge then checked the official Senate Handbook and determined, no, nobody gives a shit if you drink milk, Everett. So Dirksen grabbed a fresh glass of milk and the Senate at large took the time to write down that: Senate rules do not prohibit a senator from sipping milk during his speech. You still can't drink soda or whiskey on the Senate floor, but no senator shall be deprived of his God-given right to cow-juice--so help us God.
This is just the sort of stuff Congress was most concerned with during the Civil Rights Era as just one year prior, in 1965, California senator George Murphy began keeping a shit-ton of candy in his desk drawer to share with other bored lawmakers. The practice stuck, and to this day there is a designated "Candy Drawer." Who runs it changes often, but the drawer reached its nadir during Rick Santorum's 1999 run during Bill Clinton's impeachment when there were nothing but Peppermint Patties.
United States CongressStill better than Mark Kirk (R-IL) who went with Tootsie Rolls, Gum, and fucking popcorn. We might have some idea where all those eggs are coming from every Halloween, Mark.
And 60 some years prior to that, some other Congressional geezer decided if he was going to spend all godforsaken day passing laws, he'd better well be able to eat some bean soup whenever he well pleased. It's not clear which senator started the tradition of ensuring bean soup is always on the menu at Senate restaurants, but for over 100 years, being elected to office has come with the dope-ass perk of unlimited access to both "The Famous Senate Restaurant Bean Soup" (mostly navy beans and ham hocks) AND the entirely different "Bean Soup" which is also navy beans and ham but is somewhat sexed up with potatoes and onions.
The Senate Can't Vote If People Just Don't Show Up
One of the primary arguments against term limits in Congress is how complicated modern politics has become. In theory, by the time they would learn "how it all works," a lawmaker's term would expire and some other goober would come in and attempt to learn the ropes. This would be tragic as newbies might not be able to effectively utilize exotic maneuvers like one often used in State-level politics called "Quorum Busting."
We'll see if we can try to explain it to our non-professional-politician readers: If somebody in Congress doesn't want a bill to go to vote because they're worried it won't go their way, they can... just not show up. Like literally they can just run away. If there aren't a certain amount of voters physically in the room, nobody can vote. That's it. That's the whole move.
The sergeant-at-arms is allowed to compel senators to come in and vote (and they've physically carried assholes onto the floor before), but they can't do anything if they cross state lines. Now, we're going to go out on a limb and guess that most members of Congress aren't exactly peak physical specimens, but if enough senators manage to charter a bus or jack a Honda, all of Congress grinds to a halt.